Often the question arises, how do I build a relationship?
When you develop a relationship with customers, they return for more business. They also refer others to you as based on that relationship. Although it is not difficult to build relationships with customers, many consultants/owners don't know how to do this.
This is easy. This is your friend. Get to know this person. Just because this is your client does not mean you can't get to know them. Getting to know them gives you an edge when fulfilling their needs with your product.
Like with any customer always always always follow up. After initial contact follow up with your customer 3-5 days later. No more than this. This is a simple offering to answer any questions, assist with ordering, or anything else a customer may need. When a customer orders allow time for the product to arrive and follow up to see how they like an item. Address any questions, concerns, problems, further orders, and so forth.
Ways to build customer relationship:
- Take note of birthdays, anniversary, special occasions. Send a card or call to recognize the special day
- Send holiday cards to customers just like you would family and friends. Make it personal and hand write a special note inside.
- Send samples of new products. Include how to buy and follow up a couple days after they receive it for any questions or assistance in ordering.
- Send thank you gifts for referrals. Some prefer special discounts but I have personally found small gifts from the company prove to have a larger impact. This is up to you and how you conduct business. The more your customer feels special, the more loyal they are.
- Keep a database of products ordered by your customer. Note favorites and dislikes. You will be able to tailor communications with this information. Remind your customer when it is close to time to buy again. This is especially helpful in the beauty field.
- Pass on sales of favorite products You know what they like so make sure they are getting the best deals on that product.
- Offer your own exclusive sale. Just because a company is not offering a sale or special promotion does not mean you can't do one yourself. You may represent another company but this is your business. Treat it as such.
- Deliver orders personally whenever possible. This gets you one on one time with your customer. Take with you a new product.
- Offer a gift registry even if your company does not offer one. This is great for something as simple as a birthday. You can type it up in a special way and mail to gift givers.
- Offer exclusive packages for events such as weddings. You build a custom package you are not only satisfying a need but you are showing you care enough about the business they bring to offer something exclusive.
Note what a customer purchases for later reference. Keep a database of everything a customer buys. This will eventually give you the idea of what your customer likes due to the pattern in which they buy. You will find like and dislikes as well as purchasing style. If your customer is purchasing renewable items such as beauty products or home scents make note how long your customer takes to use a product. If it seems a customer should be about ready to reorder, send a quick note especially when a sale is currently on.
Your loyal customer should be treated like royalty. Offer samples, deliver product personally whenever possible, take orders in person taking with you samples of new products. You are the store so bring that store to the customer.
Customer service is number one. You never burn a customer. Be honest. Communicate. Take care of that customer 150%. Deliver orders whenever possible. Take orders in person whenever possible. Offer special discounts even if you are a consultant and your company does not offer one. Give a special thank you gift when your customer refers another customer. The simple personal care you give a customer will make them want to keep doing business with you.
Just watch the sales push overkill. If every conversation you have is nothing but trying to sell, it can turn off potential customers. The reason is because they fear you want nothing more than to sell them a product. Ever walk through the mall with salespeople surrounding kiosks trying to push sales? You avoid them like the plague correct? Don't become the salesperson you can't shake. This will certainly not build a relationship and will most certainly become a word of mouth ad you do not want to be part of.
Love what you do. If you are truly passionate about what you do, customers will be captivated by your passion. Statistics show that customers buy from those who show they believe in the products they sell, use the products/services they offer, and show passion for the companies they work for. Be honest, open and listen to your customer's needs. This will result in consistent sales growth and an excellent reputation making you one of the top performers in your field.
Truly care about your customers. Remember that no matter how good you are, faking it simply won't work and customers see right through it. Ask questions, take notes, engaged in their answers. When you take an interest in people, they remember you. When people remember you, it's good for business and your customers.
Give yourself value. Share your network of contacts with your customers. Don't expect them to give you their business without you giving them something first. This does not mean give away free product hoping they will buy more. People need solutions. Answers to their needs. Instead, give away something that makes you valuable such as a referral to a partner of yours, a solution to a business problem that you read about or heard from someone else, or even help finding a new dentist or mechanic. This makes you a valuable source and make others look to you for their needs including what your product or service will fulfill.
Always make eye contact. It shows we are still interested in their well being. Very few sales people ever look their prospects directly in the eye. By simply smiling and making eye contact, you'll be surprised how much you will set yourself apart from everyone else. Not making eye contact makes them feel less important, makes you look less confident, and offers an intimidating situation.
Use a customers name. Introduce yourself. This will give your customer the chance to introduce themselves or allow you to ask if they prefer to be called "Mrs Jones" or if "Jane" is OK. Just be aware of how they wish to be greeted. Be careful not to over use their name. You do not want to say their name after every sentence. One it will make it sound like a sale pitch and 2 it can make them feel uncomfortable. Repeat their name after they give it to you, once or twice during the conversation such as "Jane I think you will like these so I am going to give you a couple samples to try." Then at departure when you say good bye. Keep it a simple "it was great talking with you Jane. I will be in touch soon."
Listen to what your customers say. Nothing turns a customer off faster than a customer feeling they are not being listened to. Customers have a need or a problem and want you to satisfy that need or offer a solution to that problem. If you only want to sell something they don't need, they will not buy and will not call on you again.
Keep in contact with your customer. Giving a catalog, business card, sample, or making the sale is not the end to your contact with a customer. The one crucial piece to building a relationship with your customer is to stay in contact with them. Far too often a business will let a customer walk out the door without getting some sort of contact information. Don't force a customer but whenever possible get contact information. A newsletter from your business sent by mail is a good way to not only get contact information but to stay in touch. No matter your choice of communication keep in contact. Make a personal call once in awhile, send greeting cards, send something special for their birthday such as a free gift or special discount.
The ability to building a successful relationship with your customers is crucial to building your business. As a business owner (even consultants are business owners) you should not be looking for the done in one sale. You want to bring them back for more, repeatedly. A repeat customer is a loyal customer. The simple fact is it is always easier to keep a loyal customer than it is to replace them.
The idea seems difficult but you will find it is very easy. It goes back to the old saying do unto others as you wish done unto you. Don't do anything you do not appreciate receiving yourself and do what you would like on the receiving end. The better you treat your customer, the better the relationship.
A customer relationship doesn't stop the moment they make and receive their purchase or leave your store. It continues indefinitely.
Success in your business depends directly on your ability to make yourself likable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, and reliable. Create a positive experience for your customer and the rest will follow.